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You're Going To Hell Evangelism


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I have many thoughts and will be doing a evening on Universalism at my church during Lent. For now I just wanted to share my realization of what the passage: Unless you become as one of these you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven.

 

Children were completely powerless. All of Jesus' teaching is about power and no-power. In order to be part of the kingdom of God we must become powerless like children. It fits right in with a rich man cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

 

That's a good interpretation of that message and it is supported by Pauline theology. Paul reminds us over and over again that we are weak and powerless except when we live in God's sufficient grace. I particularly like 1 Corinthians 1:18-25 and 2 Corinthians 12:1-10.

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Hi Joel,

 

I could put the voice of Burge Troxell to the words written by Joel, if you know the man, send him my regards, as for my family he would have to contact them personally, I don't have a family or children anymore.

 

Talk about a living hell created by liars, and I can support the conversation and enlighten many to the fact that people must be accountable to people, before any person can find heavenly reward. What I'm saying is that if a person has not done the work and teachings of Jesus in their life, if they have committed a sin against another person and they haven't followed the words of Jesus to repent then that person has sinned against the spirit of GOD and is in danger of losing their eternal reward. The truth will set the victims free.

 

The problem is that the false teachings and convictions of the innocent have veiled the good works. Imagine if Jesus would come to your house tonight for dinner, you would hate the man, you would cast out Jesus and mock him to his face and you all know this is true, it is the way of our world here in America to hate those that are doing good and acting like good Samaritans.

 

If you know Burge, ask him about the man he kicked into the gutter and left for dead and the family that is now estranged, I hear and read, he might have to answer for his actions.

 

So when GOD is used to hurt the innocent and the truth is not supported investigated or told we know that by claiming we are all sinners saved by grace the poor victims just have to deal with being bullied and the Bible can be wrongly applied to many situations and circumstances by many different interpretations. But which is the right path?

 

If we look to the book or the word which has many flaws and many good points the interpretation should always lead us to justice for GOD Loves justice. Now is justice applied only to one gender does GOD prefer one gender over another? How about race or creed? How about financial status, the wealthy have a great obligation to the poor is this not true? Would you then say that GOD is much greater than the GOD of an earlier time? How about this, if GOD has created all things, then who are we to kill or hurt others? GOD is pro-creative, pro-life and NOT pro/choice. If you choose to abort a child you are not doing the will and work of GOD. If you choose to lie about someone you have choosen to harm their life you are not a child of GOD. There are many other choices that can be made that would not be following the heart of GOD. The one that can't be forgiven is the one that never asked to be forgiven and even asking for forgiveness you still have to make right the wrong.

 

What does it take to make something right?

 

I've asked a lot of questions, and the questions might seem to stray a bit off of the main topic of evangelism going to hell, but in reality I've just laid out the plan created by GOD and Jesus for the path to forgiveness by others and by GOD. Now if we start to apply these teachings it would look like a lot of confessions of crimes committed onto or unto others by many sinners who claim to be christians. The spiral of Sin would unwind and the world would turn in the right direction once again we would be working together for the good of others and a good cause, we would not need any Church, Mosque or Temple to preach to us we would be helping others teach through our actions of love and repentance.

 

The word of GOD is Love, and to Love the good written word is to love peace and that would be a Blessing.

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  • 1 month later...
I saw a blip not too long ago (probaby on YouTube) of Kirk Cameron "witnessing" to people. His basic argument is "your going to hell, so accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior."

 

There is an article in Yahoo! about him and people are all over it thinking he is great. I find this sort thing to be very distrubing.

Yeah he is a bit of a fundamentalist with his evangelism approach, but his partner is worse.

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Christ said, "Unless you become as a child you cannot enter the kingdom of heaven." He didn't mean for us to become childish and exclude others but pure, innocent and unrehearsed. The infant emerges threatened by the negative perspectives of the world in the lower layers of the mind and that is hell, to the higher layers of the mind where the function is to comfort and give refuge to others, which is heaven. Jesus is also pictured as this divine child ready to redeem mankind from its ignorance and misery bring all to heaven. Enjoy the show it doesn't get any better.

 

Antonio Machado puts it nicely,

 

"If I were a poet

of love, I would make

a poem for your eyes as clear

as the transparent water in the marble pool.

 

And in my water poem

this is what I would say:

 

I know your eyes do not answer mine,

they look and do not question when they look:

your eyes, your clear eyes have

the calm and good light,

the good light of the blossoming world, that I saw

one day from the arms of my mother."

Edited by minsocal
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As has been pointed out, the "free will" argument isn't a problem for universal salvation/liberation/acceptance unless it predefined as a system of requirements that the person must fulfill. I think a bigger challenge that has been made to universalism comes from thinking that without the threat of Hell or some other punishment, those who caused immense suffering in this world and were unrepentant will in the end "get away with it" and escape justice. Some folks don't want to imagine a Hitler or a Pol Pot "in Heaven". The idea that in doing such things they were already hurting themselves and cutting themselves off from their humanity and the divine and diminishing/ruining their own lives and reducing their existence to a baseness that is itself odious isn't enough for some. They want such people to burn, burn, burn. They want to cut them off, cast them out, and exclude them from being "us" and lock them squarely away as "other".

 

Ironically, when a reporter asked Mother Theresa* how she was able to put up with the difficulties and frustrations of caring for poorest and sickest people left to die on the streets of Calcutta, she replied that she had "discovered I had a Hitler inside me." That is, she had realized her own potential, given the proper circumstances in life, to have become every bit as ruthless and cruel as Hitler. There was no false pride about being better than others, just gratitude for the circumstances that had led her to a better existence and a desire to pass that on. As for how she saw those whe was serving she commented, “When I look into the eyes of the dying I see Christ.”

 

 

 

*I am not trying to start a Mother T debate she was simply a good example to use here

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Interestingly, this interview (and the related book) by Kirk Cameron came up in the last week when I was conversing with an evangelical friend of mine. I understand the fear of hell can be a powerful motivator, but I (as a progressive) don't believe that people are going to hell if they don't believe in Jesus. Then, the challenge is -- how do we show people that their daily living will be enhanced if they follow Jesus? For example, is it easier for a Christian to get along with difficult relatives? By not storing up earthly treasures and instead focusing on what truly matters, can we avoid a lot of stress in life? One of my relatives said, "I would go to church if I needed to meet more people or if I thought there was something wrong with my life." How do you gently explain that while there may seem like nothing is wrong with his life, it could be SO MUCH BETTER with faith?

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Interestingly, this interview (and the related book) by Kirk Cameron came up in the last week when I was conversing with an evangelical friend of mine. I understand the fear of hell can be a powerful motivator, but I (as a progressive) don't believe that people are going to hell if they don't believe in Jesus. Then, the challenge is -- how do we show people that their daily living will be enhanced if they follow Jesus? For example, is it easier for a Christian to get along with difficult relatives? By not storing up earthly treasures and instead focusing on what truly matters, can we avoid a lot of stress in life? One of my relatives said, "I would go to church if I needed to meet more people or if I thought there was something wrong with my life." How do you gently explain that while there may seem like nothing is wrong with his life, it could be SO MUCH BETTER with faith?

 

 

I don't really feel a need to. What works for me might not work for someone else. If someone is mentally healthy and content being an atheist or agnostic or whatever, more power to them!

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You make a good point, but what works for me MIGHT work for them as well, if I could communicate it properly to them. There is a difference between just being "mentally healthy and content" and living life abundantly, wouldn't you agree? Since my sons are in the boy scouts, and I think it is adding to their lives, I tell other people with boys how great it is. I used to feel the same way as I think you do about this, since faith conversations can be difficult, and I did not think it was my place to interfere if someone has found another way of living that works for them. However, I am seeing that life is not very satisfying to many people, but because of negative perceptions of Christianity they haven't seriously considered it as a possible enhancement to their life. Even if it is not dysfunction, people feel too busy to give Christianity a second look. As Christians (even progressives) I think it is our responsibility to try to be loving at all times in all our relationships but also to be able to communicate why being Christian works better for us than being agnostic or atheist. How would you answer that? Certainly I agree that if a person doesn't want to join boy scouts or follow Jesus I will not hound them.

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I disagree with your assumption that religion, Christianity, belief in God, etc. makes life better for everyone. I don't know life w/o a belief in God so the argument could be made that I should try it w/o and maybe my life would be better. I see no reason to try to convince anyone of anything. When people are discontent they will look for something different, if that is a finding God or religion or Chrisitianity in some form, so be it. If it isn't, so be it. I don't believe in proselythizing.

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To me, evalgelical Christianity assumes that it is a religion in need of being spread throughout the world as if it is a solution to a problem. Why and to what end? To replace other religions? The entire concept of evangelical Christianity has given rise to attitudes that one form of Christianity is correct and others incorrect, other relgions invalid, etc. If we truly comprehend that we are all, each and every human being alive and breathing right now, are all Children of God, what difference does it make if someone is a Chrsitian, Jew, Muslim, atheist, agnostic, or worships the sun? We are all on our own individual Spiritual Journey that moves from one depth to another as we progress on our own Quest. The fact that we are Children of God is primary, the individual expression of that fact is secondary. What is important is for each and every one of us to act in such a way both alone and with others as God would want us to represent God as Children of God.

Edited by Russ
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About a year ago, I heard Jim Wallis speak to a group of Progressive Christians. He is defines his perspective as both "progressive" and Evangelical. I was dubious at first until I read that he defines himself as a "nineteenth century" Evangelical. This is a different definition of Evangelical. He speaks to many of the core principles held by Progressive Christians and I can agree with him on perhaps 80 percent of his views, mainly those on social justice. Anyone else here heard of him? Are there now two strains of Evangelicals?

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About a year ago, I heard Jim Wallis speak to a group of Progressive Christians. He is defines his perspective as both "progressive" and Evangelical. I was dubious at first until I read that he defines himself as a "nineteenth century" Evangelical. This is a different definition of Evangelical. He speaks to many of the core principles held by Progressive Christians and I can agree with him on perhaps 80 percent of his views, mainly those on social justice. Anyone else here heard of him? Are there now two strains of Evangelicals?

As you allude to in Wallis self-identifying as a "Nineteenth century" Evangelical, there are and have been many varieties of Evangelical. However, a particular very vocal group of Evangelicals in the US managed to convince a large portion of their peers that certain common values were being threatened and that political alliances with those claiming to defend those values was necessary. Not all of them agreed about all the issues but the idea was that there was strenght in numbers. Hence particular political interpretations of religious values from a politically savvy group of Evangelicals became a political identity in media and among those organizing get-out-the-vote drives. This political identity ("Evangelical Christian") then became synonymous with a religious identity. In other words, rather than religion informing voting, politics was wed to and dictating affiliation in religion. That is, being a conservative Republican was conflated in many circles with being a(n) (Evangelical) Christian. Hence "Evangelical" in many people's minds automatically conjures up the following:

  • Bush/Cheney supporter
  • Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, or Michael savage listener
  • extreme anti-abortion and extreme pro-gun
  • anti-homosexual
  • anti-liberal
  • anti-"big government"/pro-"big business"
  • suspicious or hostile to liberal Christians and people of other faiths (except pro-Zionist Jews)
  • in your face proselytizer

However, even among politically conservative Evangelical Christians not everyone has been on board with this view of their religious or political identity. Plus there are many moderate and liberal Evangelical Christians such as Wallis who are really unhappy with what has been dubbed the "hijacking" of (Evangelical) Christianity by the segment of the far right that dominated national politics from 2000 to 2006. Some of this broad-spectrum dissatisfaction with the redefining of (Evangelical) Christianity may be helping to fuel with "emerging church" movement as well, in which you see a hard-to-categorize mix of "orthodox" Christian beliefs and moderate to progressive political views on issues such as poverty and environmentalism.

 

Speaking of Jim Wallis, he has been trying to generate and support a movement to liberate Christianity from far-right politics. He founded Sojourners magazine, has written books on religion and politics (the most recent being God's Politics: Why the Right Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn't Get It in 2005 and The Great Awakening: Reviving Faith & Politics in a Post-Religious Right America in 2008), and started a blog called God's Politics. He even managed a funny appearance with Jon Stewart to promote his 2005 book. He inspires some liberals and progressive Christians and he annoys/frustrates others. Personally his most recent two books are on my "if I ever get around to it" reading list which seems to grow daily.

Edited by tinythinker
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My response is that I agree with the social justice position Wallace presents, but I know we wouldn't see eye to eye on theology. To identify as evangelical a person would have a higher regard for Biblical inspiration and authority than I do. They emphasize conversion, "sinner's prayers," and the death and resurrection of Jesus as the "only way" to salvation. They are uncomfortable with doubt, seeing it as a temptation from Satan. I know I am generalizing, but I think there is truth that if someone identifies themself with the evangelical movement, they agree with most of the above.

 

However, I think it is wonderful when evangelicals and progressives agree about how to demonstrate God's love in the world. Even if we don't see eye to eye, we see heart to heart, and that is what is most important.

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However, I think it is wonderful when evangelicals and progressives agree about how to demonstrate God's love in the world. Even if we don't see eye to eye, we see heart to heart, and that is what is most important.

 

I agree. My only issue, coming from my experience with evangelicals, is they feel the need to proselytise at the same time. I think others see God more through silent actions than proselytizing action!

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